Toyo Tire begins joint development of a suspension module for EVs with GLM Co


Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., LTD announced that it has recently agreed to and started to tackle the joint development of a suspension module for EVs (electric vehicles) with GLM Co., Ltd. an EV manufacturer, in order to meet society’s future mobility demands.

The development of EVs powered by electric motors has accelerated worldwide, with many different automobile manufacturers mapping out their own mass production plans in quick succession. Because EVs run so much quieter, the performance requirements for the components used in EVs differ from those for combustion engine vehicles. In particular, any rubber products for automotive which the company manufactures for EVs must provide a different level of functionality and performance from conventional vehicles, such as being much quieter, and optimal damping control to vibration which  generated from vibration sources, such as uneven road surfaces and the e-motors.

GLM – the company’s joint development partner – launched a full-scale mass-production of their Tommykaira ZZ electric sports car in October 2015. The following year, GLM attracted much attention when they presented their concept car – GLM G4 – as a futuristic electric supercar at the Paris Motor Show 2016.

GLM not only develops and distributes complete vehicles, but also sets up a “platform business” providing a platform*1 that is considered the heart of the vehicle or the parts thereof, developmental expertise and a collaborative relationship with automotive companies and organizations (GLM Ecosystem) for non-automotive manufacturers as a core of their business.

Toyo Tires’ automotive products, such as tyres and air suspension, are an integral part of vibration control, and play an important role in maintaining quietness, comfort, and safety. The company will promote the development of a “modular suspension system for EVs” that combines Individual purpose products including tyres as part of its business source development with a close eye on future mobility.

The primary parts being promoted for development by the companies are “active air suspension*2 to ensure a smooth flat ride*3.” The company launched development of the modules to be mounted on vehicles in line with our mid-term vision, and aim for commercialization within 2020 under the plan for joint development of a next-generation active suspension in which electronic control technology is embedded and applied to air suspension while receiving the necessary information regarding active suspensions, suspension systems, and elemental technologies for the overall vehicle, and support related to knowledge accumulated as an automobile manufacturer from GLM.

From this fiscal year, the company has begun to tackle business focused on “mobility” including automotive tyres and components as a management entity.

The company takes the view that jointly developing product modules for EVs with GLM as a partner will contribute to expanding the potential for deepening and advancing our future vehicle. It aims to become a supplier that can propose greatly added value by accumulating experience in total design and packaging of suspension modules specifically to resolve the unique technical issues confronting EVs through our collaboration with GLM.

Hiroyasu Koma, Representative Director & President, GLM Co., Ltd said: “ Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd. has exceptional expertise in air suspension technology. They are keen to develop new products, as implied by their excellent development resources. Having such a development partner enables us to add attractive technology to our exciting products. We believe that the flat-ride technology that we are jointly working to develop will become a core technology for electric vehicles, given their superior quiet performance. This technology is becoming the de facto standard for premium segment vehicles whose share has grown in line with global economic growth. I expect massive needs for general vehicles in emerging countries where road conditions are insufficient and transportation for people and luggage once the cost is reduced following a shift to mass production.”

Masayuki Kanai, Senior Corporate Officer in charge of Engineering Control Department, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co., Ltd said: “GLM is an emerging EV manufacturer born out of Kyoto University’s electric vehicle development project. GLM has succeeded in developing and bringing EVs to production from scratch, and thus has a frontier spirit in searching for future vehicle options through partnerships with a variety of companies. I feel a sense of kinship between GLM’s progressive spirit and creativity and our corporate culture.We will maximize our technological potential, achieve a new level of integrated performance for each proven component, and would like to realize modular production of indispensable and value-added suspension system components for our future vehicle.”